By Le Huu Phuoc
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Additional info for Buddhist Architecture
This kind of benevolent control was necessary after repeated revolts in the northwestern frontier city of Taxila in Gandhara (Pakistan) and the devastating war with the Kalingas; the emperor’s real intentions could have been to assimilate the peoples in the conquered territories into the Indian schemes. Asoka also had this message to the people in the conquered and vassal territories (Dhauli RE II): “My only intention is that they live without fear of me, that they may trust me and that they I may give them happiness, not sorrow.
Vajrayana Pantheon Important Mahayana bodhisattvas like Avalokitesvara, Maitreya, Manjusri, etc. are also found in the Vajrayana 29 pantheon but they are significantly marginalized. Vajrapani, a preeminent bodhisattva of the Vajrayana who previously appeared in Mahayana sutras and Gandhara arts as a yaksa chief and Buddha’s constant attendant, became the ultimate symbol of enlightenment wielding the vajra in his hand. His powerful and rising career evolved since the first century CE chronologically from a simple yaksa attending Buddha (Gandhara), one of Buddha’s chief acolytes (Mathura), to a powerful bodhisattva in Buddha’s mandala (Deccan caves), as a separate deity (Orissa and Pala arts), and finally attaining his fully independent and demiurgic status equal that of a Buddha in the final phase of Vajrayana arts as Trilokavijaya and Samvara.
The majority was dedicated to Buddhism as Asoka himself was not only the third and most powerful emperor of the Maurya Dynasty (323-184 BCE) but also the greatest Buddhist monarch ever. Due to his generous patronage of Buddhism, Buddhist arts and architecture flourished throughout India and gradually began to spread throughout Asia and they remained the dominant and influential force in India for more than a millennium. Asoka’s father and grandfather, Bindusara and Chandragupta respectively, left no permanent historical monuments that could be positively attributed to them; on the other hand Asoka, with his larger-than-life personality, left many monuments that could be identified with certainty as his own creations.